I am sad to share that Brad Johnson, an actor I admire very much has passed away. This is a short tribute to Brad and I plan to write a much longer article about his career in the near future.
It would be false for me to call Brad a friend but we did recently make a connection. Last year, Jay Pickett and I cast him in the modern western Treasure Valley. As many of you know, on the seventh day of production Jay had a heart attack and died on our movie set, suspending production indefinitely. We never got to film any of Brad’s scenes. He was very gracious on the phone when I called him with the sad news and offered to help however he could. I told him that I hoped to work with him one day, either in a completion of Treasure Valley or another project.
This January, I reached out to Brad hoping to interview him for my prospective book about John Milius. He worked with the great director twice, playing the leading role in Flight of the Intruder and Rough Riders. I also hoped to interview him for my podcast. Brad responded days later sharing that he was in the hospital. He’d contracted COVID and had pneumonia. I wished him a smooth recovery and kept following up over the course of the next few weeks during which I heard back from his family that he was still in the recovery process. This past week, I heard the very sad news that Brad passed away.
It is hard to think of someone so vital, so strong being unable to recover. As I said before, I plan to write a much longer article about Brad because he deserves that and much, much more. His stardom may have faded over the years but his incredible presence in the movies will live on as long as our culture exists. Selfishly, I am very sad that I will not be able to work with this great actor or hear his stories of working on some wonderful movies. For his family and friends, my heart aches. Though we were not close, I feel close to him if that makes any sense.
I will write more soon. The picture above is my favorite image of Brad Johnson from his fantastic performance in Across the Line.